They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
Born in 1947, the man christened Reginald Kenneth Dwight has left a stunning mark on popular culture in the last four decades. Over 30 albums, two animated films, two Broadway plays and a host of crazy costumes later, Elton John‘s still standing. Unlike many musicians his age, John’s work output has not slowed, nor has his popularity. Just last year he released a Grammy-nominated album with American singer-songwriter Leon Russell, and he’ll soon embark on a worldwide greatest hits tour. John and his domestic partner David Furnish also recently welcomed a child into their household via surrogate. That lucky little tyke gets to count Lady Gaga as one of his godmothers.
So on his 64th birthday, Cover Me has decided to honor this legendary figure the best way we know how: some amazing covers! Check out a genre-spanning collection of Elton songs both popular and excellent below (note: because we recently posted five good covers of “Your Song,” that one’s been excluded). And be sure to let us know your favorite Elton John covers in the comments!
• The heavy-hitting pairing of “Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding” opens John’s seminal 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Here, prog masters Dream Theater take the tunes to their inevitable endpoint as a hard rock epic.
MP3: Dream Theater – Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (Elton John cover)
• Few artists have been as important — or as often compared — to Sir Elton as Billy Joel, America’s own Piano Man. Here, Joel takes vocal duties from his friend during one of their many Face to Face live shows.
MP3: Billy Joel – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John cover)
• Brooklyn rappers the Beastie Boys turn in a delightful cover of John’s faux-live teenage anthem, complete with a vocal assist from the tonally-challenged Biz Markie. Once you know this cover exists, you know exactly how it’s going to sound, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
MP3: Beastie Boys ft. Biz Markie – Bennie and the Jets (Elton John cover)
• How many of us first came to Elton John through his work on The Lion King? It only seems right to celebrate that with a cover courtesy of Jamaican ska/reggae legend Jimmy Cliff.
MP3: Jimmy Cliff – Hakuna Matata (Elton John cover)
• In this writer’s opinion, 1975’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is not only the best of John’s musical output, but one of the finest records of all time. Here, legendary coversmith Jeff Buckley tackles its intertwined closing tracks. Get ready to have your heart broken.
[Note: these songs come from two different live performances; I’ve edited them together into one continuous song to keep the connected nature of the original songs intact. Plus now you get two songs for one! Why not?]
MP3: Jeff Buckley – We All Fall in Love Sometimes/Curtains (Elton John cover)
Keep tabs on Elton John at his official website!